On my way to the renowned Tower of Pisa from the train station, I was captivated by a breathtaking river view.
Many believe that Pisa only offers the Leaning Tower as an attraction. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
The city has a rich history, having been a significant seaport and trading hub long before its rise as a tourist destination.
Although this blog post primarily focuses on the Tower, I’ll also share other intriguing aspects of Pisa that you shouldn’t miss. You can also check out my blog post about what you can do in Venice!
Table of Contents
Did You Know?
- The Tower of Pisa, known as “Torre Pendente di Pisa” in Italian, took nearly 200 years to construct and serves as the bell tower for the Cathedral of Pisa.
- The name ‘Pisa’ is derived from a Greek term meaning “marshy land.”
- Several other towers in Pisa are also tilting.
- The baptistery in Pisa is historically significant as the place where Galileo was baptized in 1565.
- The Tower continues to lean further by about two millimetres annually.
My Journey to the Tower:
I began my trip from the picturesque coastal city of Livorno, taking a train to Pisa.
Contrary to expectations, the Tower isn’t immediately visible upon exiting the train station. Despite the influx of tourists, clear directions to the Tower are surprisingly scarce.
However, with some preparation, it’s a straightforward day trip. Opting for a walk instead of a bus ride, my friend Sage and I explored Pisa’s quaint streets, admiring the city’s Romanesque architecture.
Along the way, we encountered leather shops offering authentic Italian leather goods (a delight unless you’re vegan).
As soon as we left the station, a small, cute coffee shop drew our attention and we decided to take a delightful break there, where we savoured pastries and espresso macchiatos, surrounded by lively local chatter.
It’s worth noting the harmonious mingling of locals and tourists in Italy, a contrast to places like Greece, where locals avoid touristy areas and do not let tourists in Greek clubs either, so no mingling or interaction with locals is possible unless they are looking for it.
Shopping in Pisa
Pisa’s shopping streets boast both local boutiques and global brands like Zara and Bershka.
Given Italy’s fashion prowess, I’d recommend exploring the local shops.
After a 20-30 minute stroll, the iconic leaning silhouette of the Tower comes into view, even more impressive in person than in photos.
It is amazing as when you first see it, you realize it is in fact leaning and much more amazing than any pictures of it can be.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
As you approach the Tower, you’ll notice an increasing number of souvenir shops, with prices dropping the closer you get. Be vigilant, though; this area is known for pickpockets.
The UNESCO-listed Piazza Del Duomo, where the Tower stands, is a must-visit. Interestingly, the bell was removed from the Tower to reduce its weight.
While the Tower and Cathedral are undoubtedly the highlights, the journey itself enriches the entire experience. And yes, I couldn’t resist the quintessential photo of “holding up” the Tower.
To round off our trip, a scoop of gelato was the perfect treat.
I hope you get to go to Pisa and enjoy your trip!